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James Hewson Traditional Painter – Q&A

Listed under Blog, hand-painted kitchen, James Hewson, TP Team Posted Jun 16 2015

I asked James Hewson Traditional Painter, a few questions in order to provide some background to how he arrived at this point in his career.

James Hewson traditional painterWhat part of the UK do you cover for Traditional Painter?

Devon and parts of Cornwall and Somerset

At what age did you first wield a paint brush for money? And for how much?

I was around 17/18 and worked with my mate’s dad who did property maintenance. Think I was on about £2-£3 per hour.

Can you briefly outline your formal training?

Relevant training has included a job-based decorating apprenticeship in my late teens, graphic design courses, various professional development courses from Dulux Select / Lincrusta and other providers.

Who do you consider your “mentor” in your early years, and why? (Name names!)

I think it would be my father, as he had a huge amount of practical skills that he passed on to me, along with the general confidence to problem-solve practical issues.

What brand paint were you predominantly using on woodwork when you started out?

It would have been something oil-based from Dulux, I imagine.

And now, what would you use as your best shot on a front door?


What was the most unpleasant decorating job you ever did? (Don’t name names!)

Hmmm, it would probably be decorating an extremely nicotine coated house from top to bottom and having to sleep on the nicotine infested carpets while we did it. Bleuurgh

Tell us briefly about a job that you think encapsulates your craft skills?

We recently completed a kitchen in a converted chapel and the kitchen was made from the panelling in the chapel. The wood was very ‘rustic’ and had a lot of imperfections including old woodworm that needed sorting. There were various issues with sticking doors and dodgy magnets. The wooden worktops were in a poor state and we refinished those. The rest of the kitchen was decorated and 9 windows had nasty brass furniture replaced with pewter monkey tails. On top of that the window cill was retiled. So it was the complete package from start to finish.

Name one aspect of the decorating trade today that makes you cringe?

The outdated college training

Name one aspect of decorating that is infinitely better than when you first started out.

The advancement of relevant tools: dust-free sanding, abrasives, brushes etc

If a young person said they wanted to be a painter, what would your advice be?

Try and get a modern apprenticeship with someone who’s up-to-date on methods

What decorating trend do you hope never makes a comeback?

Woodchip and borders

Based on your experience, is there a “most popular colour” for hand-painted kitchen cabinets?

I guess some kind of “off white” although I have used some nice greys and blues recently

Is your own home decorated to the nth degree, or is it a case of cobbler’s shoes?

Probably somewhere in the middle!

Outside of work, what are you working on at the moment?

I have two young children so they are my outside work at present.

This is the standard of work that James carries out for Traditional Painter. If you have a project in mind, contact here, he will be happy to help. More Team TP members are featured here

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